Phoenix belt 36ers, move to third in NBL

December 11, 2022 04:02 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Red-hot South East Melbourne Phoenix have moved to third spot on the NBL ladder after thrashing the Adelaide 36ers 102-84 at John Cain Arena.

Mitch Creek (24 points) and Trey Kel (20) starred on Sunday for title-contending Phoenix, whose third successive win saw them jump ahead of Cairns.

Import Robert Franks (18 points) and unsung development wing Nick Marshall (15 points in 17 minutes) led the charge for the Sixers, who plummeted emphatically to their third consecutive defeat, their season fast slipping away.

Adelaide opened proceedings with the first two triples while Antonius Cleveland threw down a huge windmill dunk midway through the first term.

But that quarter - and the rest of the match - was otherwise thoroughly dominated by Phoenix.

The combination of Kel and Alan Williams saw SEM ease ahead 27-18 at the first change while Creek's 14-point second term stretched Phoenix's advantage to 13 at halftime.

Sunday Dech's fullcourt pass with 1.6 seconds remaining before halftime to Franks for a layup on the buzzer failed to give the visitors the momentum they needed in the third.

Adelaide continued to throw away turnovers on offence while finding themselves opened up defensively at the other end.

Touted as one of the competition's big improvers pre-season, the 36ers fell further and further behind as the second half wore on, worried by Zhou Qi's size in the paint and continually unable to find an answer for Creek.


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